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NEW DELHI: In an abominable incident, a self-stlyed godman was arrested in Uttar Pradesh for sexually exploiting minor boys from North East, including one from Meghalaya, and treating them as slaves in the ashram.
The victims, however, have been rescued after the Muzaffarnagar Police raided the place.
According to the police, Bhakti Bhushan Govind Maharaj, owner of the ashram, viz. Gaudiya Math, would not only sexually abuse the boys but also beat them and forced them to do menial labour.
The accused allegedly used to sexually abuse the children after showing them adult content, sources said. The children were also administered alcohol telling them it is a medicine for coronavirus.
Medical reports of the victims have confirmed sexual abuse with injury marks on their bodies.
The four boys, who were sexually abused, are aged between 9 and 12 years and of the remaining six, five are aged between 10 to 15 years, while one is 18 years old, police said.
The Ashram was set up 12 years ago and the accused hails from Sisauli village situated 65 km from Meerut in UP.
The children, who were supposed to be kept there to receive education, were engaged in the construction of a two-storey building of the Ashram besides all other sundry works.
The harrowing ordeals of the children came to the light after an inmate was kicked out of the Ashram for trying to probe into the complaints made by children.
According to the police, the accused has been charged under Section 377 (sexual activities against the order of nature), Section 323 (for voluntarily causing hurt and knowingly berating someone), and Section 504 (to deliberately humiliate the other person) of IPC. In addition to this, he has also been charged under the provisions of POCSO Act.
Police said that the ashram had been operating since 2008.
The district administration of Muzaffarnagar, after receiving a complaint on the child helpline, immediately swung into action on Friday, following which members of the Child Welfare Committee along with a police team reached the ashram and nabbed the accused.
When the Child Welfare Committee members spoke to the children, it was revealed that they were forced to clean utensils, tend cows and sweep floors while their stay at the ashram, sources said.
According to the children, they were often denied meals and kept hungry as a punishment for refusing to listen to the accused.
Quite often, they were also beaten brutally.